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How to succeed in business by Michael Bloomberg

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 03, 2017

Michael Bloomberg, billionaire business owner of Bloomberg and former three-term mayor of NYC, recently shared some advice with the NY Times on how to succeed in business.

What disturbs me is you talk to kids applying today and they invariably say, “I cured cancer, I brought peace to the Mideast.” Spare me. How about, “My father never existed, my mother is a convicted drug dealer. I worked three shifts at McDonald’s.” That’s the kind of kid I want - with an ethic of taking care of his family - because then he’ll take care of others. Some of us don’t have much prenatal intelligence, but nevertheless go out and try and have a decent chance of surviving. I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but nobody’s going to outwork me.

About half of this advice seems useless to anyone who isn’t already fantastically successful relative to most other people. Being fired from your bond trading firm with a $10 million severance is adversity now? See also survivorship bias.